I believe I’ve hit a new high in the adventures of parenthood. I’m camped out in the hallway, drinking a glass of wine, eating ice cream, and listening to someone else put Bubba to bed:
Yep. She’s been asking for a few days to try to put him to bed one night. Each evening I have had some reason why it was a bad idea (he’s too grumpy, it’s too late, Mommy’s too grumpy, etc.), but tonight I could think of none. So I gave her a few basic instructions: get him in bed, read him 3 or 4 books, say a prayer, turn the light out, and sit next to him until he’s asleep. Then creep out of the room, and you’re done! Oh, and
when if it doesn’t work, don’t get upset, just come get me. Half of the time it doesn’t even work for Mommy.
The first five minutes was brutal as he wailed over and over, asking for me. I was sure she hadn’t bargained for the screaming and that she was going to throw in the towel after a minute or two. But much to my surprise, she stuck it out. And gradually I could hear less of his protests and more of her reading.
The sound of her working her way slowly through familiar books and the image I had of him sitting on the bed, waiting patiently for her to figure out the tough parts was just too perfect. So though the dishes need to be done and the laundry needs to be folded, here I sit, listening and waiting:
Ok, Bubba. Time to get in bed. Here, I’ll help you.
Hand, hand, fingers, thumb. Dum ditty, dum ditty, dum, dum, dum.
Are you having fun, Bubba? Ok, I’ll keep reading to you.
Boom boom boom, Mr. Brown is a wonder. Boom boom boom, Mr. Brown makes thunder.
Lay down, Bubba.
Brown bear, brown bear, what do you see?
Don’t worry, Bubba. I’m just going over here to get some more books.
At roughly the 30 minute mark, she crept out of the room with the most surprised look on her face. “I did it! He’s asleep!” I celebrated with her, and then sent her downstairs to tell Daddy. She hadn’t made it past the first three steps before the wailing kicked back in. But this time he was calling her name. Be still, little heart.
So, as we often do, she went in for round two, rereading each of the books, this time with more confidence. Soon she was out again, and this time he was really down for the count. “It was like magic!” she exclaimed. Yes, Chica, you are magic.
After we had read her two stories and said our own prayers (“God, thank you for letting me get Bubba to sleep so good.”), she asked me an interesting question. She asked me if I was more proud of her brave jump off the diving board today or of her putting Bubba to sleep. It was a tough call, but I went with bedtime. I told her that I thought she was very determined and that I could tell that she really loved Bubba.
And finally (because I have no other ideas for ending this post??), I leave you with a limerick:
There was a young girl who read
Three books to get Brother to bed
She turned out the light
And called it a night
“You’re hired forever!” Mom said.